Books We Read: The American Revolution Looms

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This week, we studied the American demand for liberty.  I’m aware that many of my readers are from other countries.  Yet, the desire for freedom is universal, is it not?  We’ll be studying the Revolutionary War for a few weeks.

Next week, we’ll study the beginning of the War.  You can find that post next Friday.

(We use Tapestry of Grace, and these are not all of the books we read this week.    However, these are a few of the books we read to enrich what we learned about.)



The American Revolution, JoAnn A Grote (Historical Fiction, Grades 4-6)

As the Revolutionary War approaches, tensions in Boston continue to mount.  Tea lands in Boston Harbor, soldiers infiltrate the city, and families must choose sides.  The main character, fourteen-year-old Stephen, is drawn into the conflict as a doctor’s apprentice.  It soon becomes clear that, as a man, Stephen must fight.  A fourteen-year-old man?  One thing I’ve been struck by this year is the lack of adolescence in the colonial period.  (Did you know that “teenagers” were invented less than 100 years ago?)  I’ve appreciated this series for the consistent (but not condescending) examination of faith and values.  We’ll be reading The American Adventure series next year as well.

This is book #11 in The American Adventure series – 48 consecutive books from Barbour.  We will just be reading 12 of the books this school year.  Though the series is out of print, it was produced in the late 1990′s, and there are still lots of copies floating around.  I got most of mine in a large lot on eBay.  When I’m looking for a series, that’s my favorite way to buy, as it really lowers the cost of shipping (per book).  We will only read through book #12 this school year; the series runs through the end of World War II.

In Their Own Words: Paul Revere, George Sullivan  (Biography, Grades 2-4)

I’ve never read a biography of Paul Revere, and I found his story interesting.  The book includes one reference to Revere’s faith in a direct quote:  “I trust the Allwise Being who has protected me will still protect me, and send me safely to the Arms of her whom it is my greatest happiness to call my own.”  I found nothing objectionable in the book.  I did, however, find the writing to be stilted and choppy, as you would expect from a much shorter easy reader.  I’ve mentioned before that I don’t like it when books condescend to children; I think that by the time a child is reading 123 page books, he or she can handle varied sentence length.

Why Don’t You Get a Horse, Sam Adams?, Jean Fritz (Biography, Grades 1-3)

Jean Fritz is nothing if not a gifted biographer.  My kids love the way she picks a personality quirk and highlights it.  She does an excellent job of highlighting Sam Adams role in the war; how he would trudge up and down Boston, stirring up discontent.  Yet, Mr. Adams would not (and I repeat – NOT) ride a horse.  The illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman are wonderful, and the length is perfect for the little people.

Liberty! How the Revolutionary War Began, Lucille Recht Penner (History, Grades 1-3)

This was a fantastic, colorful overview of the American desire for independence.  Each two page spread covered some aspect of the time leading up to the war.  For instance, one spread covers taxes, another the Liberty Tree.  I’m saving this book for the next time we go through the Revolutionary War, four years from now… because I might want a quick overview of the way the war began.

Hearts and Hands: Volume 4: Chronicles of the Awakening Church, Mindy and Brandon Withrow (Church History, Grades 3-8)

See more about the History Lives series (published by Christian Focus Publications) in Church History Worth Selling Your Silverware For. I couldn’t imagine not including this excellent book in our studies of the 18th and 19th centuries, so I am reading it aloud as we go.

This week we read an article called “An Era of Social Reform”.  The article covered slavery, abolitionism, and other reforms (such as foreign mission agencies).   We also read a biographical sketch called “William Wilberforce and the Abolitionists: Great Change”, which showed a scene from the fight to end slavery in England.

What did your family read last week?

~ Danika Cooley

Danika Cooley is a freelance children’s writer with a love for God’s Word, history, wisdom and small people. Her work has appeared in magazines including Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr., Pockets, Devozine, Keys for Kids, and Cobblestone Group’s FACES and Odyssey and in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters.  

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